Email Promotion of Your Indie Filmmaking

Since my last filmmaking podcast, I have been contacted by many of you. Some of you like my filmmaking ideas. Some of you think I’m crazy. But regardless of what you think, the world of independent filmmaking is changing. This is mostly because distribution is changing, which affects financing, which affects your ability to pay your cast and crew.

As a result of these changes, filmmakers who want to make a living making independent movies need to start thinking about their target audience from day one. While I would never suggest that you completely forgo your artistic integrity, I would suggest you answer the following questions:

  1. Who is going to buy and watch your movie? (Hint, if you answer everybody, you answered nobody.)
  2. How will you reach your intended niche, target audience?
  3. How many VOD downloads will it take to recoup your initial investment?

Since those of you who make movies are mostly filmmakers, not marketers, it becomes increasingly challenging to market your movie and your work. But some aspects of marketing are easier than you think. How do you get started?

One easy thing you can do is set up your own email marketing system. Email marketing works like this, the bigger your list of targeted subscribers, the more sales you can potentially make.  I use email marketing for both my filmmaking and my filmmaking stuff, for an example of how this works, grab your free filmmaking book by clicking here.

When you arrive on the page, you’ll see that I ask for your name and email address. The reason I ask is because I want to build a long term relationship with you. And if I don’t ask, I won’t get.

In the context of movie promotion, Kenton Hoppas (who once participated in one of my workshops – and we are now working together) provides a great example of how this works for his movie Career Courier. [Example is found here]

As you can see, Kenton’s initial movie website is very streamlined. It involves both a YouTube trailer as well as an opt-in form. This is intentional. The goal of his initial site is to collect names and email addresses of prospective audience members (AKA potential customers) and he’s starting early.

Through both online and offline marketing efforts, his objective is to grow community around his movie – which could spread positive word of mouth… Which could eventually lead to DVD sales. After the movie, Kenton would have the ability to promote related products or other movies of a similar genre.

If you’re wondering when you should start promoting your own project and company, I’d say the sooner the better. But there is a science to this – know your audience. And make sure all of your communication is on point. For example, if you are making a movie about vegetarians, it would not be a good idea to send out coupons for hamburgers. (Unless you were being ironic.)

As a rule of thumb, never email blast from your own servers. Always use a 3rd party email marketing company that insists on something called a double opt-in. A double opt-in means that after people submit their name and email to your list, they will still need to check their email for a confirmation link. Then in each subsequent email you send them, you will always provide an easy way to opt out.

In my business, I prefer Audience List (which aside from being awesome pays me a commission to say this) – Once you sign up and put an opt in form on your website, you can being growing your list. Then as your list grows, you will want to always find ways to reward your loyal fans. Usually this comes in the form of offering free stuff. Two simple examples would involve giving away poster art as well as your movie soundtrack.

Sometime down the road, long after your movie has played the festivals and sold out on iTunes, you may find there is value in promoting other movies of a similar genre – or better yet, selling your next movie. This is when having a list really pays off, literally. Or as they say, the money is in your list.

To join the filmmaking stuff community and get over $100 dollars in free filmmaking tools, visit[podcast][/podcast][podcast][/podcast]

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